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Organisation of vocational upper secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.10Organisation of vocational upper secondary education

Last update: 9 January 2024

Types of institutions

The main vocational education providers in Lithuania are called VET institutions. They are all of the same type. Vocational education can be provided by a freelance teacher or other vocational education provider (general education school, institution, organisation, company, whose main activity is not vocational training). A vocational education provider must have a licence issued by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.

Geographical accessibility

On December 2017 the Law on Vocational Education and Training (VET) (new edition) was adopted. Thereafter, the VET institutions network was prepared for reform. Starting from the 2022 academic year, a restructured network of vocational training institutions, in which the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports implements the rights and obligations of the owner (shareholder), is operating.

The purpose of this transformation is to make rational use of resources to create an effectively functioning, accessible network of vocational training institutions that implement vocational training programmes that meet the needs of the labour market, and that at the same time create favourable conditions for individuals to acquire qualifications; to create opportunities for persons studying in accordance with the professional training programme to obtain basic or secondary education, as needed, and to receive pedagogical, psychological, special pedagogical, social pedagogical and other educational. This will be done by combining the vocational training programmes of the vocational training institutions operating in the relevant region with the needs of the companies operating in the region, by eliminating excess assets, creating prerequisites for high-quality vocational training, efficient use of finances, optimal investment in vocational training infrastructure and human resources.

According to the EMIS, there were 52 VET institutions in 2023. 

Admission requirements and choice of school

Persons who have completed lower secondary or equivalent education may be admitted to follow a two-year vocational education and training curriculum or a three-year vocational education and training curriculum in conjunction with the upper secondary education curriculum.

Since 2017, admission to VET institutions is carried out centrally via the internet. Those who wish to apply must register and apply through the system of Lithuanian Association of Higher Education for General Admission (LAMA BPO) on webpage There is a more than one possibility to participate in the competition to enter VET since there is main admission and additional admissions during one year.

The number of state-funded and non-state-funded VET places is established by the order of the Minister of Education, Science and Sport.

Main admission. There are no entrance examinations for those wishing to enrol in a VET programme. However, the VET institution has the right to organise an evaluation of entrants’ specific abilities using its own tests. If there are more entrants than state-funded places, priority is given to those:

  • who seek an initial qualification and
  • have higher achievements in general education subjects.

If there are fewer than 12 entrants joining the programme or if he/she was not offered their first choice of VET programme, the admission system offers entrants their second choice. The system may also offer another VET institution that implements the entrant's preferred programme.

Additional admission. When the main admission is completed, there is an additional admission for any remaining places. Those who have not participated in the main admission can participate in the additional admission. In addition, those who participated in the main admission but were not offered a place in the VET institution can also participate in the additional admission procedure. It is important that an entrant who participates in a repeat admission procedure must not have signed a VET learning agreement.

Age levels and grouping of pupils/students

Age of learners

The legal acts do not indicate the minimum age requirements to enter a specific VET institution with an upper secondary education curriculum. However, it is possible to calculate that a pupil must be at least 15 years old (if he/she started primary education at 6 years of age). In general, pupils must be at least 14 to attend vocational schools.

Group size

There should be at least 25 pupils in the first-year groups of initial VET.

If it is not possible to form a learner’s group of 25 or there is no economic need, smaller groups can be formed or two smaller groups can be merged to form one joint group. The institution holding founder status has to agree on this.

If there are learners in the group with inherited or acquired disabilities and who have high or very high special educational needs, the size of the group can be reduced. In that case each learner with special educational needs is counted as two learners. There can be no more than 3 learners with high or very high special educational needs in one group.


Each subject of the upper secondary education programme is taught by a specialist teacher. Vocational teachers teach the teaching subjects. Separate topics in the teaching subject might be taught by a different vocational teacher. A practice tutor is assigned for practicals.

Class division for curriculum

In order to implement a school’s upper secondary curriculum, a class can be divided into groups or temporary (mobile) groups can be formed for particular subjects. The pupils can be grouped in temporary (mobile) groups according to the level of knowledge in the subject. For example, according to the level of foreign language (B1, B2 etc.). Temporary (mobile) groups can also be formed according to the subjects the pupil choses to learn. For example, when a pupil chooses one subject to learn from a group of social sciences.

In order to implement the VET curriculum, when a group contains more than 20 learners, it can be divided into two sub-groups during classes of practical training or during classes where theoretical teaching and practical training are closely related.

Organisation of the school year

The length of the school year and educational process

When a VET institution provides upper secondary education together with VET, upper secondary education is organised in the same way as in general education schools providing upper secondary education. Therefore, firstly, the school year is organised according to the general plans of the primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education curriculum for the concrete school year approved by the Minister for Education, Science and Sport. 

The school year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August. The school year consists of time for educational process and time for holiday.The length of the educational process is 180school days for grade III pupils. For grade IV pupils – 170 school days. 


VET and upper secondary education programmes have holidays in the autumn, at Christmas, in the winter and at Easter. School personnel work during these school holidays (except for public holidays). The total length of these holidays is no more than 17 school days. It does not include public holidays. It is recommended to plan holidays every 7-8 school weeks. The principal sets the holiday dates. The summer holidays start after the educational process is completed. Usually it is the part of June. The principal sets the start date of the summer holidays for grade III pupils. The summer holidays for graduates start after the examination session is completed.

In course III of VET and upper secondary education programmes, there are no autumn, winter of Easter holidays. The head of the VET institution must coordinate all holiday changes with the board of the VET institution.

Division of the educational process

The school year is divided into half-years. The VET provider sets the dates.

The main form of the educational process in upper secondary education is a lesson. Schools that choose a different way of organising the educational process, for example, by project or otherwise, must coordinate it with the relevant institutions.

Organisation of the school day and week

Pupils attend VET school 5 days per week. The learning load per week has to be optimal and distributed rationally. It is recommended to organise fewer lessons on a Friday. There should also be a time for non-formal education and for meeting pupil’s individual educational needs.

Classes start between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The duration of a lesson is 45 minutes. The duration of a lesson may be adjusted if necessary, but the maximum duration of uninterrupted activity should not exceed 90 minutes.

Students who are 18 years old may receive 40 astronomical hours (60 minutes) per week for practice or workplace training (in a real company etc.). Or the students may receive 40 academic hours (45 minutes) if practice or training at the workplace is implemented at a sectorial practical training centre or at a VET provider's practical training base.

The length of breaks between the lessons must be at least 10 minutes. In the case of practical training or actual practical work placement, breaks are determined in accordance with the company’s, institution’s, organization’s rules of procedure or other internal documents.